Tata Steel to cut 400 jobs in South Wales

MUMBAI, July 1 Tue Jul 1, 2014 7:13am EDT

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MUMBAI, July 1 (Reuters) - Tata Steel said on Tuesday it will cut about 400 jobs at its Port Talbot plant in South Wales, around 10 percent of the workforce, as it looks to reduce costs to compete better in the strip products business in Britain.

Under the company's new management, Tata Steel has intensified cost cuts and focused on high-margin products to cope with soft demand in Europe, its biggest market.

Karl Koehler, chief executive of Tata Steel Europe, said in a statement the measures were "vital if we are to build a competitive future for our Strip Products business in the UK".

Koehler added that steel demand and prices were likely to be under pressure for some years.

Tata Steel got a foothold in Europe through its $13 billion acquisition of Britain's Corus in 2007.

"We will be seeking an urgent meeting with the company to discuss our concerns about manning levels and reiterate our opposition to any compulsory redundancies," Roy Rickhuss, chair of the UK trade unions' steel committee said in a statement.

Hywel Francis, the local member of parliament and David Rees, member of the Welsh assembly, said in a statement: "We wish to place on record our continued faith in steel making at Port Talbot and we urge government at local, Welsh and UK level to work with Tata and the unions to achieve this."

(Reporting by Aman Shah in Mumbai and Maytaal Angel in London, editing by David Evans)

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